’90s Rock ‘n’ Roll fans are in for a real treat with the line up of this year’s Under the Southern Stars event. FOCUS caught up with Kav from Eskimo Joe and chatted about their last 21 years in music, his new solo album and of course, Under the Southern Stars.
Hi Kav. This year marks 21 years in music for you guys. You’ve come a long way since Ruby Wednesday, which is still my fave Eskimo Joe song. What have been some highlights, or what song is a paramount moment for you throughout this time?
From doing EPs, which was just us playing around and playing as loud as we could in the jam room and writing songs on the go, going into Girl is where we started to take ourselves seriously as songwriters. It wasn’t until A Song is a City and especially the song From the Sea that I really felt like we came of age and that song, despite all the big radio songs we’ve had since, has stood the test of time … Especially when we play it live; it’s still just a great moment and never gets boring.
Tell us about your latest release, your solo record All Your Devotion, which you released in September.
All Your Devotion is something I’ve been working on for almost four years. At the end of 2013 we released a record called Wastelands and I sat down with the guys and said, I love doing this, but I really want to do a solo record and take my time doing it, because I want to put out a quality piece of music and not just rush an album. So we did that, and here I am a couple of years later with an actual album completed. It’s a much mellower sound. Eskimo Joe has become this Rock ’n’ Roll beast; it’s not where it started, but it certainly is where it is now, but this album is much more gentle … kind of sit down with a glass of wine and do a puzzle in your library kind of album.
How do you feel you’ve developed as a band over the years to where you are now?
Well first, it’s always been about trying to write really great songs, so we just sit down and really work on the great structure of songs. But for us, it’s also vital to be challenging ourselves all the time, and the way we do that is we never really stay in the same place sonically, so every album we try to push ourselves and evolve and change, throw new musical spanners in the works, and that’s one of the reasons I did a solo record as well – to challenge myself creatively.
I think it’s an ever evolving thing; I really hope we get to jump back in the studio again sometime next year and get another record together – and that would be a really interesting thing, because Eskimo Joe’s last record was quite
experimental. We really tried not to stick to any formulas, and I imagine if we came back together to do another album, it would be a really simplistic, organic sounding record.
Twenty-one years of music and the three of you are still very much a tight knit group. What’s the secret?
I think having a good formula as far as your chemistry with each other goes. It’s just like being in any relationship; if you get together with someone and the chemistry isn’t quite right, then after your honeymoon period you pretty much don’t want to look at each other ever again.
With us, we’ve always had really great chemistry, whether it be on stage or in the studio or just hanging out with each other – it’s always been really good like that. We’ve had lots of serious band meetings over the years, where we’ve talked about people’s feelings etc. so we’ve had to communicate immensely to keep that camaraderie alive.
We’re all older now – we’re not as embroiled and as enmeshed in each
other’ lives, but we still enjoy each other’s company, which I think is the main secret to our success.
You’re playing Under the Southern Stars, which is becoming a festival for our most iconic artists. What do you love about playing shows like this?
Watching a bunch of the other great bands that are playing like Hoodoo Gurus, You Am I, Jebediah, Superjesus – they’re all really cool bands. Playing big Rock ’n’ Roll festivals is always a joy; there hasn’t been a great touring festival in that style since the Big Day Out, and with these kinds of things we get to feel that feeling again.
It also means you get to roll into new towns and to play to a bunch of people who haven’t seen us play in a long time. Having a fantastic day is what we look forward to.
Sunday, January 17th
Westport Park, Port Macquarie.
Tickets www.underthesouthernstars.com.au or call 136 100.